Maintaining student status means fulfilling the purpose for why the Department of State issued a student an F-1/J-1 visa and following the regulations associated with that purpose.

Below are actions to take in order to properly maintain F-1 student student status:

  • Enter the United States no more than 30 days before the program of study begins.
  • Complete the Check-in process at UFIC after entering the United States, no later than the program start date listed on the I-20/DS-2019 form.
  • Have a valid, unexpired passport
  • Attend the school authorized to attend
  • Refrain from unlawful employment
  • Make normal progress towards completing a course of study
  • Have a valid I-20/DS-2019 and apply for extensions in a timely manner
  • Follow transfer procedures
  • Request a new I-20 for a change of major or degree program level (for F-1 students).
  • Be a full-time student (F-1 students may only count one online/distance education/correspondence study/EDGE course (3 credit maximum) toward their full time enrollment requirement, per semester).

Recognize and Avoid Status Violations

If an F-1 international student violates the requirements that govern his/her immigration status, the ability to remain in the United States as a student would be jeopardized. Examples of violations include but are not limited to the following:

  • Failure to enroll by the date specified by the student’s school.
  • Failure to maintain a full course load without prior authorization for a reduction from the student’s International Student Advisor.
  • Unauthorized employment during the student’s stay.
  • Failure to leave the United States following completion of the student’s course or program-related employment.
  • Failure to maintain insurance coverage for the student and his/her dependents (for J-1 Students)

* Please note that this is not a complete listing of potential status violations. Check with an International Student Advisor for more information.

An International Student Advisor (ISA) must authorize a Reduced Course Load (RCL) or Leave of Absence (LOA) and update SEVIS prior to the student reducing his or her course load. If a student drops below a full course of study without the prior approval of the ISA, the F-1 student will be out of status. If an F-1 student falls out of status for reasons beyond their control, the student may be eligible to apply for a Reinstatement of status. International students must work with an ISA to determine if reinstatement is an option.

Dependent Spouse or Child

  Spouse Child
F-2
  • Is only in status while the F-1 is in status
  • Is not eligible for ANY employment authorization
  • Is allowed to enroll in a degree program as a part-time degree seeking student
  • Is only in status while the F-1 is in status
  • Is not eligible for ANY employment authorization
  • May enroll in educational institutions (K-12) and as a part-time degree seeking student

Employment Authorization

Students and dependents are eligible for employment as indicated below:

  Student Dependent
F Status
  • On campus, without prior approval from the International Center
  • A maximum of 20 hours per week during fall/spring semesters; full time permitted for summer semesters
  • Full time during official vacation periods (i.e. spring break and winter break)
  • Through Practical Training (CPT and OPT)
F-2 DEPENDENTS ARE NOT PERMITTED TO WORK UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

NOTE: Students should contact the UFIC prior to any employment which occurs off campus (paid or unpaid) and prior to accepting payments from United States sources.

Grace Period

F-1 students have a 60 day grace period after the date of graduation (or OPT end date, if applicable). During the grace period, the student may remain in the United States while making preparations to depart the U.S. before the grace period ends. The student may also either apply for a change of visa status or request a SEVIS transfer to attend another school; both of these cases require action to be taken before the grace period ends.

However, if the student departs the U.S. during the grace period, the remainder of the grace period is forfeited; that student may NOT re-enter the United States in F-1 status any longer using the I-20 from the program that was just completed. If an international student leaves and later needs to re-enter the United States to pick up his/her belongings, the student should consider the possibility of entering the United States on a tourist visa.